i was reading a review of push notification apps the other day, and my present situation started to fester. for those familiar, i’ve had to keep push notifications turned off in order to prevent rapid battery life loss and issues when charging my iPhone. reading about how others are enjoying push in some respects is frustrating, because there is really no sound reason why my issues are caused by push notifications.
so i buckled and decided to enter into another round of testing out settings, etc. all the while knowing that this could be painful (even possibly result in being potentially phoneless for a period of time. i re-enabled push notifications for foursquare, and opted to keep AIM (download on iTunes store) and Yahoo! Messenger turned off for the time being. what resulted was exactly as expected — rapid battery loss (down to 25% within 45 minutes off of the charger and minimal use) and charging issues (phone ceased to charge beyond both the 25%, 50% and 75% thresholds).
NOTE: people will question what that means (“If you couldn’t charge past 25%, how did you test the 50% and 75% points?”). with two simple methods:
- the jiggle technique: by unplugging the phone and re-plugging it in repeatedly, i could occasionally trick the phone into charging beyond the 25% point. this is hardly rock solid, and frequently failed to work.
- restore, restore, restore: for whatever reason, running a restore would override this bug and the phone would remain in charge mode throughout the restore process. often, the restore would last long enough to get the phone back up to nearly full charge. this provided a clue.
you see, i noticed that each restore would render the bug moot, but when faced with the decision to restore from a backup, the bug would resurface in the subsequent syncing of older data. could the issues reside in a corrupted backup? once the restore sync completed, the charging and battery life issues seemed to stick now, regardless of whether push notifications were on or off.
this led me to the next step in my testing process: erase all data on the phone (not just a software restore), and then set up the phone as an entirely new phone. this is a hassle in that all accounts would need to be reconfigured (email, etc.), but that’s a small price to pay for a more stable phone if it works. if it doesn’t, i’ll be taking yet another trip to the genius bar.
i’m pushing the phone to the limits to test this out, so i’ve activated location services, push notifications, and 3G. if battery life is better under these settings, it means i’m onto something here. so far the test has been going well. sometime (before 7am) we experienced a power outage, which means while the phone was on a charger, it was not being charged. all signs point to it having reached full charge, as it was full when i retrieved it this morning at around 8:30 a.m. since then, i’ve had an AIM conversation via push notifications, ran out for bagels at 9:39 a.m. (where i reclaimed mayorship using foursquare), read several blog posts, took photos, uploaded to flickr, tweeted, grabbed coffee, and returned home at about 11:19 a.m. once home, i took a snapshot of my battery life, which at ~25% after a little over two hours of heavy use seems like an improvement. mind you, i was seeing a drop to 25% of battery after 40 minutes of light use (3G off, location off, and push notifications on).
i’ll continue to monitor, and will report the latest on the blog as it develops.
in a slightly related note: Sarah Lacy posted about waning Apple fanboy-ism over on TechCrunch this morning. with the recent issues over Google Voice and other unapproved apps, i’m sure functional issues like these only impact blind devotion to Apple further. it’s my feeling that no one should be blindly devoted to anything. period. a critical eye is important to maintain — otherwise films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button end up getting a free pass from Fincher acolytes.